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Vivente Randonneur expands 2014 touring bike line

Alia Parker's picture
Vivente World Randonneur touring bicycle. Cycle Traveller

Vivente Bikes has announced an expansion of its World Randonneur touring bike line in 2014, with the creation of four distinct models, one of which offers a Rohloff internal hub gear for the first time.

The new models – Deccan, Patagonia, Anatolia and The Gibb – come with a few component tweaks, such as a slight upgrade to a Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur from a Deore LX, as well as the introduction of mechanical disc brakes for both front and rear.

The Deccan, Patagonia and Anatolia models in themselves are not new, but rather give formal names to custom handlebar and brake lever options Vivente has always provided its customers, namely drop bars with STI levers, drop bars with bar-end shifters, or trekking bars, respectively. However, The Gibb is a new offering in the Randonneur line, with a frame built to hold a 14-speed Rohloff hub gear.

While the new models won't arrive in the country until April, Noel McFarlane, owner of Vivente Bikes and creator of the World Randonneur line, says stock run out prices are now available on all 2013 models at select dealers. The sale reduces the prices of the Randonneur by about $400 per bike, bringing a drop bar with STI levers down from $1,999 to $1,599. This is a $700 cost saving on the new 2014 models, which are set to rise by about $300 each due to inflation, production costs and the drop in the Australian dollar.

A complete package

Vivente World Randonneur front dynamo hub. Cycle TravellerThe World Randonneur has a reputation as being one of the best fully equipped packages available in the Australian market. Further, as it is distributed direct by the manufacturer in Australia, it has a price advantage over many of its competitors, resulting in good value for money. Out of the box, it comes complete with rear Tubus rack, kickstand, fenders, a dynamo to generate power as well as front and rear dynamo-powered lights. The only accessory a cyclist may want to add if they will be carrying a lot of gear is a front rack.

The Randonneur in its earliest incarnation dates back to 1981 and McFarlane – an experienced and dedicated cycle tourer with a long history in the bike industry – has been updating and tweaking it in line with changing technology.

2014 changes

For the incoming 2014 line, the Randonneur has moved to full mechanical disc brakes on the three derailleur models. The 2013 models have a mechanical disc brake on the front and a Shimano V-brake at the rear. This combination came about because of many tourers' fears of maintaining disc brakes on the road while at the same time respecting the superior stopping power of a disc brake. McFarlane says the market has changed with disc brakes now becoming a desired option as customers find early fears about disc brakes failing have not come to fruition. As for why the Randonneur has stuck to mechanical discs opposed to hydraulic discs, McFarlane says component manufacturers don't currently offer a suitable STI brake lever that will work with hydraulic disc brakes in a touring bike configuration, with most products aimed at the mountain bike market. Having said that, many consumers will likely feel more at ease maintaining mechanical disc brakes on the road as they rely on the old familiar cable tension rather than brake fluid. For touring cyclists who would rather stick to cantilever or V-brakes, the 2014 frames come with removable rear brake pivots to allow for this customisation.

Another key component change is the move to a Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur from a Deore LX. The XT is a step-up in the component hierarchy offering good performance and high quality, but McFarlane says the change has more to do with the phasing out of LX by Shimano rather than its quality, with the LX having proven to be a reliable, hard-working and affordable component.

The 2014 Deccan and Patagonia drop bar models will retail for $2,299 while the Anatolia trekking bar model will cost $2,249.

Finally, the introduction of The Gibb – the 14-speed Rohloff hub gear model – is an exciting expansion to the line. Rohloff have an unsurpassed reputation for providing high quality and low maintenance touring gears. The Gibb will retail at $3,599.

The 2014 line will be available in mid-April. Until then, the 2013 run-out models offer cyclists the opportunity to buy a sturdy touring or commuter bike at an attractive price.

2013 review

Vivente World Randonneur Trekking bar review. Cycle TravellerThe first thing I notice when riding the 2013 trekking bar World Randonneur is comfort. A touring bike needs to be comfortable and the geometry of the Randonneur combined with handlebar positioning and WTB seat meet that criteria well. The bike rolls smoothly and responds well. The build also feels reliably strong; the CroMo steel frame with double butted main tubes makes a solid and reliable frame capable of handling a heavy load on sealed and unsealed roads.

Gear shifting is smooth, as you would expect from Deore LX components and the bike handles well on climbs and descents. In forums, some cyclists have noted that the 'granny gear' is not low enough to carry a load on steep ascents. I think this is something that will only affect a select few riders. The derailleur models come with a 48/36/24 crankset and an 11-32 cassette, a common touring combination and one I feel offers a good range. However, it is possible to customise this set-up. If this is you, get good advice from a mechanic before doing so.

Conclusion

The Vivente World Randonneur is a great all inclusive touring bike, built by a tourer, for tourers. It is a sturdy bike designed to go the distance while keeping comfort in mind. The 2013 model price reductions offer attractive value, particularly for a bike with a front dynamo hub. Meanwhile the incoming 2014 range brings some welcome changes, most notably the introduction of the Rohloff gear hub.

Overall, the Vivente World Randonneur is a great option for a cycle tourer or commuter looking for a no fuss out-of-the-box bicycle at a reasonable price.

Images from top: 1. Vevente Randonneur 2013 drop bar STI lever model. 2. Randonneur 2013 trekking bar front dynamo hub.

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